Climate Minister under pressure to explain why new Bill fails to deliver urgent action needed
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham will give evidence to the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee today about the Government’s new Climate Bill.The Bill will set emissions reductions targets for the coming decades and has been widely criticised for failing to meet the ambition of the Paris climate agreement to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C.
Friends of the Earth Scotland Climate Campaigner Caroline Rance, who gave evidence to the same committee last week, commented,
“The Cabinet Secretary needs to clarify why, despite the unprecedented warnings on the need for urgent action, the Scottish Government has chosen to commit almost no new efforts between now and 2030. The Climate Bill should include a strong 2030 target and scale up action immediately.
“The Government’s current proposals keep us on the same path set nearly 10 years ago. Since then, the world has reached over 1°C of global warming and millions of people are dealing with the devastating consequences. The science has changed, so too must Scotland’s ambition.
“The First Minister has said that Scotland is ‘determined to lead by example’ in delivering the Paris Agreement. Yet the Bill fails to deliver the urgent action needed, and it fails to set an end date for Scotland’s contribution to climate change. As a wealthy, developed nation with historical responsibility for causing this problem through burning fossil fuels, Scotland has a responsibility to act faster than merely the global average.
“To deliver our fair share of meeting the Paris Agreement, the new Climate Change Bill should set a target of 77% cut in emissions by 2030, and aim to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.”
“By pledging more action immediately we can deliver benefits across Scottish society including healthier citizens in warm energy efficient homes, cleaner, better transport and support for farming that enhances our environment. By acting sooner, we will better protect Scotland, ensure we reap the benefits of the transition to the zero carbon economy and do our fair share of the collective efforts needed to avert disaster.”
The Cabinet Secretary’s appearance comes the day after serious warnings from the Met Office of significant temperature rises in the coming decades, and a month after the IPCC’s unprecedented warning about the need for systemic changes in the next decade to avert climate catastrophe. The detailed picture from the Met Office is of increasing summer temperatures, more extreme weather and rising sea levels, unless there are urgent emission reductions.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Cabinet Secretary and civil servants will give evidence to the Committee on Tuesday 27 November 2018.
‘Most detailed picture yet of UK’s future climate’ Met Office press release (26/11/18) https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2018/ukcp18-launch-pr
Evidence session at ECCLR Committee from 20/11/18 https://www.scottishparliament.tv/meeting/environment-climate-change-and-land-reform-committee-november-20-2018
First Minister says Scotland ‘determined to lead by example’, speech at UN Climate Conference, COP23, in Bonn, November 2017 https://www.snp.org/first-minister-nicola-sturgeon-speech-to-the-un-climate-change-conference-in-bonn/
Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.